Wildflowers in meadows or groves of flowering trees only need Mother Nature’s loving care – rain and sunshine – to thrive. But unless you are a follower of the Geoffrey Bawa school of thought, which advocates a seamless melding of the outdoors with the indoors, the chances are you would have had to work hard to keep your indoor plants healthy.
The recent haze has also prompted most of us to keep our windows tightly shut. One way to score several ticks on the home improvement front while improving air quality at the same time is the simple but effective use of the humble houseplant.
“That’s the reason the sansevieria is my favourite in the houseplant family,” says S K Goh, founder of the indoor plant and flower retail chain, Pasu. “It is a hardy variety and releases oxygen round-the-clock — unlike some other species that release carbon dioxide at night — making it especially ideal for bedrooms. In fact, a recent NASA Clean Air Study showed us that a few plant species are even capable of removing toxins.
“Also, I’m lazy by nature, so these low-maintenance plants are as close to perfect as can be. If you’re looking for natural air-purifiers, calathea, dieffenbachia, money plant, pothos and sansevieria, of course, all make good choices.”
A quick browse in any Pasu outlet is certain to delight the plant lover. After establishing three outlets in the Klang Valley — at Bangsar Shopping Centre, The Starling Mall and the original one at Publika — Goh recently unveiled his first premium plant boutique, Pasu Crafted, at The Linc, KL. Spanning more than 700 sq ft, Pasu Crafted is the place to head to if you are keen on rare collectible plants and succulents.
The lush displays are a delight to the eyes, or as the Malay phrase goes: sejuk mata memandang. I saw peace lilies from Holland; serissa, a pretty thyme-like bush with small, pink blossoms that thrives in cooler climates, and marvellous mossariums, a portmanteau of the words “moss” and “terrarium”.
“Malaysians still don’t have the mentality for indoor plants, but it’s slowly changing,” Goh adds. “The usual reason indoor plants keep dying is ‘death by overwatering’. Many indoor plants only need a drink once or twice a week, max. If the air-conditioning is switched on constantly or if you are worried the air is too dry, then a fine misting should suffice. Always check the plant species as each has its own characteristics. Spider plants, for example, love brightness but the sunlight has to be indirect.”
On why he left a career in oleochemicals to become an entrepreneur for the first time, Goh says it was because “I wanted to run a business Malaysia needs and one that would prove sustainable. The name Pasu came about as pots are the foundation of every indoor plant, and I wanted a name that would also resonate with the local market.
“Plants are so amazing. Every day for me is an ongoing discovery. It really is a happy business.” Listening to Goh speak, it seems as if he has hit upon a winning formula – for both himself and his legion of satisfied customers.
Pasu Crafted is at Lot G5, The Linc Mall, 360 Jalan Tun Razak, KL. 012) 939 7278, Daily, 10am-10pm.
This article first appeared in No. 93, Autumn 2019 issue of Haven.